How to Increase Engagement with Remote Employees
The global workforce is in the process of a major transformation. Rapidly increasing numbers of workers are turning to remote and freelancing options as an alternative to traditional nine-to-five in office roles.
In some regions, like India and Asia, somewhere between 34% to 50% of workers already work from home. In the US, 45% of employees work from home, and it’s estimated there are around 53 million working as freelancers. (Source: HuffPost)
Is your organization ready to handle the challenges of this growing remote workforce? How well your business is able to engage with them will determine how productive and loyal they are to your objectives.
Factors promoting more remote work arrangements
What conditions are creating the perfect storm for increased remote work? Jim Link, Chief Human Resources Officer for Randstad shared in his recent Society for Human Resource Management presentation:
- Younger generations have a preference for working abroad and are 100% digital natives
- The improvement and increased use of collaboration and communication technology
- It is getting increasingly harder to obtain the right talent in any one region
- Globalization of business and competition for talent have had major impacts
- Workers believe that it doesn't matter where you work; it’s more about the work you do
This can be a winning proposition for businesses, as long as they understand that they will have to put processes and management in place that can keep the remote workforce engaged.
Consider the cost savings of allowing workers to use their own homes and smaller co-working spaces to conduct business? That’s just one of the many benefits, along with a happier workforce that has more balance and thus, produces better work.
Strategies for increasing engagement with remote workers
A Gallup poll indicates that individuals who work from home all the time are the least engaged. Feelings of isolation, lack of recognition and being left out of the normal daily interactions with peers can be problematic.
Some obvious challenges with engaging, and maintaining this engagement, with remote employees comes from how they prefer to interact. Employees who work remotely, tend to be autonomous by nature, therefore they don’t appreciate micro-management in any form. Remote workers do, however, enjoy being able to share what they are working on and collaborating with peers on projects.
Remote workers still require some social interaction and they deserve to be kept in the loop about things happening at the company. Transparency from both sides can be accomplished with simple project management and communication tools, such as video conferencing technology like Google Hangouts, and project communication platforms like Slack, which are free for teams to use.
Management also needs training on how to best maintain contact and encourage remote workers, without ‘stalking’ them. The project management system can be a good place to start but is no substitute for including remote workers in daily team stand-ups and weekly one-on-one feedback meetings. It’s easy for remote workers to feel disconnected from others and they lose out on the daily experiences of hearing what’s new with the team, the company, and new projects. If this is left unchecked, remote workers can quickly unplug and disappear.
2-way internal communications channels can provide a personal link to HQ
Mobile-friendly employee engagement technology can help organizational leaders stay on top of how well they are doing with engaging remote workers. This takes the guesswork out and helps to design improvements so that all employees get the full positive experience. By giving all employees an opportunity to voice their concerns in the corporate internal communication space, they are less likely to get disconnected from the company.
The key is to ensure that someone is monitoring this communicating and responding to remote employees quickly and with understanding.
As we shift into a more remote working world, it will take some adjusting to ensure that as employers we can meet the needs of all workers with real-time technology that keeps the lines of communication and team collaboration open.
Thymometrics is the perfect tool for keeping in regular touch with your remote workforce and giving them a channel to express their feelings at any time - from any location. Through real time, always-on surveys and feedback solutions, we provide revolutionary yet simple tools to empower employees and monitor wellbeing whilst providing managers with deep and useable insights to improve business culture, wellbeing programs, productivity and profitability. Contact us to see how you can use accurately track internal benchmarking in real-time and take actions when they have the greatest positive impact.